Decline in new HIV cases in India

2.4 million people in India are HIV positive. If segregated then male constitute 61%, females 39% and children constitute 3.5% of the total HIV cases in India. According to the UNAIDS Report 2013, India has managed to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 57% since 2001 through communication, education and dissemination of information. To manage the spread of AIDS in the country, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is playing a prominent role. This is a concoction of drugs and administered to HIV positive people. The drug then helps them to handle and stop HIV from becoming AIDS. It has also been reported in one of the studies that early treatment greatly reduces the probability of the transmission of the virus and prevents HIV to become AIDS. But still lot more is required to be done in this case as in India less than 10% HIV people get ART. Also the drug shortage is creating hurdles.

In a study it has been found out that labor migration and low level of literacy in certain parts of India are one of the main reasons of the spread of HIV/AIDS. The HIV prevalence rate is the highest in Manipur, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Karnataka and Maharashtra. India has the third largest population of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS after South Africa and Nigeria. Southern and north-eastern regions of the country show maximum number of HIV/AIDS cases. But at the same time India has a widespread anti-AIDS campaign. The National AIDS Control Plan III was US$ 2.5 billion project which was initiated in 2007 with the help of UNAIDS. Because of this, incidents of adult HIV are declining in India. It was 0.32% in 2008, 0.31% in 2009. Also a decline in new HIV/AIDS cases have been noticed in a population aged between 15-24 years.

First HIV case and changes after this

The first case of HIV was diagnosed in 1986 among female sex workers by Dr Suniti Solmon in Chennai. A year later 135 such cases were detected. Out of these 14 progressed and developed into AIDS. Such cases led to the HIV screening centres to screen the citizens and blood banks.

In 1987, the Government of India established the National AIDS Control Programme. It played a great role in blood screening and health education.

The National AIDS Committee within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was also established after the first case.

In 1992 the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) came into existence to look after the policies and prevention related to HIV and AIDS.

For the safety of blood the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) were set up.

The National AIDS Control Programme was introduced in phases to decrease the reach of HIV.

What needs to be done?

The high risk groups show the maximum number of HIV cases in India which include drug addicts, female sex workers and MSM (men have sex with men). There are 15-30 times more chances of contracting AIDS by high risk group as compared to non-high risk group. The reason they spread HIV/AIDS in such a vast number is because such people do not come out of their shell and keep spreading the deadly disease in the country. But these people must be identified and treated.

Disgrace associated with the HIV AIDS is the biggest challenge and because of this families are often ostracized. This is the biggest stigma which needs to conquer. Fear of AIDS is so much that children of HIV positive parents are not granted admission in schools. It is a myth that HIV/AIDS is confined to sex workers and truck drivers. The list also includes doctors, engineers and elites of the society.

Our legal system and laws should be enforced with strictness to deal with such a kind of situation and people.

Ignorance and lack of education are the major road blocks in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS in India which need to overcome.